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Decaf or decaffeinated coffee, also called diet coffee, is obtained following an industrial process of extracting caffeine from green coffee beans, in a percentage of 97-98%, called decaffeination. The extracted caffeine is used in the pharmaceutical industry as a central nervous system tonic.
Decaffeinated coffee is the option to consume coffee without benefiting from the stimulating effect of caffeine. The quality of decaffeinated coffee is the same as that of a classic coffee.
The decaffeination process was first achieved in Germany in 1903 by Ludwig Roselius, a coffee merchant and patented a few years later. Decaffeinated coffee was marketed under the name Kafee HAG, after his company Kaffee HAG (Kaffee Handels-Aktien-Gesellschaft), in most countries in Europe. In France it was called Café Sanka and Sanka in the US. Currently HAG and Sanka are owned by Kraft Foods.
Three methods are used to extract caffeine from coffee:
Using a solvent: The raw coffee beans are first passed in a steam bath, then they are introduced into a solvent. Several substances are used, including alcohol, acetone, methylene chloride, ethyl acetate, benzene. Currently, ethyl acetate is predominantly used.
With the help of carbon dioxide: This method of decaffeination consists of using carbon dioxide in liquid form to extract the caffeine from the coffee beans. The advantage of this method is that it preserves the characteristics of the coffee, but it has the disadvantage of being expensive.
Using "Swiss water": The Swiss water method was discovered and named so in 1930 after the Swiss Water Decaffeinated Coffee Company. This method consists of putting raw coffee in hot water. The major disadvantage of this method is that the main substances contained in coffee are also removed. Over time, the method was refined, using water saturated with the substances that give the taste of coffee in the caffeine extraction process; in this way the original taste of the coffee can be preserved. There is currently only one facility in Canada using this method, according to www.wikipedia.com.
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